Playing with Pinterest

Nancy J. Cohen

Pinterest might be the third most popular social network after Facebook and Twitter. It’s an online pin board where you post photos along with a description. The photos link back to the source. Go here to set up a free account:

To find people you know, go to your friends’ sites and search through their followers. Follow any familiar names. Or on the left, click on Find Friends or Invite Friends to Pinterest. If you don’t see these features, click on the gear shift arrow in the upper right corner and then on Find Friends.

Go here to Follow me:



To gain followers, follow other people’s boards and repin their photos. If you click on the little heart by the photo, it means you Like their photo. Clicking on a photo brings up a comment box.

Create your boards. Suggestions for topics can include My Books, Books by Friends, Coming Next (your WIP), Favorite Places, The Writing Life, Book Tours, Books I’ve Read, Food, Hobbies, Travels, Crafts. Browse by Category to get ideas. On the right of the search bar, click on the arrow beside the three lines. A category list will pop up. Or see what your favorite authors feature and copy their topics.


I like to do storyboards for my books. Check out my boards, and you’ll see what I mean. This is a fun activity. It gives me and my fans a visual reference for my books. I’ll use some of the same photos I buy from royalty free sites for my video trailers and mix them with photos I’ve taken personally or that others have pinned.


To get to your Boards, click on your name in the upper right corner. Find the Board you want to change and click Edit. Here you can add a description to the board.

To access the photos, double click on a board. You can add a pin to this board or edit the photos that are there. When you add a pin, you can also post it to Facebook or Twitter. Click on the pencil on the upper right corner of a pin to edit. If you upload your own photo, go in and edit it to add a description and website link. When you want to post your own book cover, do it from an online bookstore so the source leads back there.

Get the PinIt badge to put on your toolbar. Use it to pin photos from around the Web. On the right of the search bar in Pinterest, click on the arrow beside the three lines. Choose About, and then Browser Button. Also make sure the photos on your sites are pinnable by having the Pinterest share option appear on each post or website page. Get Share buttons at or

Caution: Do not pin copyrighted material. Make sure the source is listed. Upload your own photos or Repin someone else’s, or buy royalty free images. If in doubt, refrain from pinning.

Manage your pins if you wish on Tailwind:

Pinterest can be fun once you start playing with images. It can also be so much fun looking at the pictures on display that you lose all sense of time. So be sure to do your workload for the day first, and plug in Pinterest along with your other social networking. I hope to see you there!

Writer Apps for Your Phone

Jordan Dane

I recently upgraded my cell phone and I love being as connected as I am. It feels as if I could exist on my phone and not be so tied to my desk, work-wise. I get all my emails forwarded to my phone. Even when I am traveling on business, I can stay plugged in, but I’ve discovered new things on my cell phone that I’ve converted to my writer tools. Here are a few:

1.) Camera – I love my camera. When I research locations for my books or look at specific settings, I can take a photo easily and save it to create an image board, for world building. Or I can use the image for a feature I sometimes do on certain books, like my debut book – No One Heard Her Scream – My Story Within a Story. I post a pic on my website and tell something about the location, and include an excerpt, so readers can see the setting I used in the book.

2.) Pinterest – I have a Pinterest app where I can create image boards on characters or setting or evocative imagery that reminds me of the feeling of my book. This is usually something I like to do as I get started with a new book, but this Pinterest app is on my phone and I can add to my boards anywhere I am. This means no camera, just searching the internet and pinning any image to my boards.
3.) GPS – So I don’t get lost getting to locations I want to research, I love my GPS/Navigation app. I used to have a GAMIN navigator, but you had to buy updates. It’s amazing that there are better navigation apps on your phone for free and they are automatically updated. I can also do voice searches. I feel so Star Trek.
4.) Texting – I also love texting now. Who knew? I used to make fun of my niece, telling her that her fingers would fall off from lack of use and she’d only have thumbs if evolution is real. Now my family plays this “GUESS WHERE I AM” game where we send pics of strange places and we all try to guess where the sibs are. It’s like Find Waldo, without the little guy in stripes. As a writer, I can sharpen my “one liner” skills too. Win-win.
5.) Tweetcaster – I love this app, or some version of this. It allows me to set up tweets on a schedule in advance so I’m not tied to Twitter to get posts out. I mainly broadcast post links from the few blogs I belong to, so I can promote my friends blogs and interesting articles for my followers or fellow writers. It’s a great app.

6.) Voice Recorder – This app is NOT to be used while you are driving, but it is great to record quick thoughts to save for later. I have one on my phone, but there is also iTalkRecorder and it is a free app.

7.) Dictionary.Com – What is a writer without his dictionary or Thesaurus?
8.) NameShake – This is an app I’ve heard of but have never used. It allows you to research a name, along with any special meanings or history. 

9.) Stanza is a popular ebook reading app that can download off Fictionwise as well as other sites. There are several free apps to download digital content from Amazon, B&N, and others.

10.) GAMES – But where is the FUN, people? When I am waiting for my dentist, Lord knows I need a distraction. I have a very boring Solitaire and I just added Bejeweled Blitz, both free. Okay, no lie. This is a total time suck. Not recommended for serious authors. 

What are your favorite apps that you have on your phone? For all you writers on TKZ, what apps have you discovered have become an asset to your writing, rather than a time drain?
PS – I am the Simon & Schuster media escort for John Lescroart this weekend when he signs his latest book – The Ophelia Cut – at the local B&N in San Antonio at the LaCantera shopping center at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 18. If any of you know John, I’d appreciate a shout out to pass along to him or a funny story. If you are in the area, please stop by and see John. Maybe he’ll bring his guitar and sing, too.